I always have a book or a magazine “going,” sometimes two or three. There is a rack full of magazines in my bathroom that I am working my way through, a book on my nightstand, and this, my newest find, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books,” by Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air Book Critic, on Life as an Obsessive Reader. I have often mentioned my need to write, but today I am thinking about my need to read.
I cannot imagine a life without books and magazines. Ever since I was a little girl, even before I was in school, reading from my older sister’s Dick and Jane book, I have loved reading.
During the summer and Christmas break from school, my two younger sisters and I would go to the library and pick out huge piles of books we lugged home. Two days later, we’d be trading because we’d finished our own stack. My fondest memories of childhood are of those unfettered moments of quiet when each of us sisters sat on our respective beds with our noses in a book. The only sound in the room was the turning of pages, and perhaps, a soft sigh when we reached the end of our story. I believe my soul still craves that kind of silence, rare in a house full of children.
As a child, I always believed that shelves of books were a sign of riches. To own a book seemed to be the epitome of wealth. If I had a goal in life back then, it would be to someday own many books. The first book I ever owned was a small paperback nursery rhymes book that either my sister Joan or sister Pat gave me. Later, in junior high and high school, I saved babysitting money to purchase paperbacks from the Scholastic catalog the teacher handed out. Then in college, I was forced to spend an insane amount of money on those least worthwhile of all books, the dreaded textbooks. Since college I have picked up books for myself and my children everywhere I go; garage sales, thrift stores, book sales, and online. I trade books through www.PaperBackSwap.com and occasionally (rarely) pick up a new book at Borders, if I have a 30% off coupon or it is on the discount shelf. I still wear out my library card, but I love to own books, too, especially those I will use as reference or want to read again. Our house is full of books. The two shelves in our living room:
The shelf within reach of my desk:
The shelf that holds educational reference books:
And then each of my children has their own bookshelf in their rooms.
Yes, we are truly rich.